Keep Alive the Memory by Celeritas

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Disclaimer (which covers this and all subsequent chapters):  The background to this story is not mine.  The Lord of the Rings is owned by the J.R.R. Tolkien Estate, praise it with great praise, and also in part by Saul Zaentz.  But since this tale is set some time after the events therein, I can lay claim to the plot (certain elements of which are arguably evidenced by elements of The Lord of the Rings), as well as most of the characters.  However, I cannot lay claim to these characters’ ancestors, the setting, the race of hobbits, characters’ last names, or any references to the Quest at the End of the Third Age, the last of which there are many.  I have also borrowed quotes from The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings, and make references to material in The Silmarillion and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.  Most of the quotes are fairly self-evident, and have been italicized to ensure minimal confusion.  The exception to this rule is a set of quoted material directly at the beginning of the eleventh chapter, which is woven in and out of original text (for reasons that will become apparent on reading) and thus is not italicized.

Throughout the tale I have tried my best to follow Tolkien’s vision and the “canon” he laid down, though as an author I have used some artistic license in my interpretations of that canon.  I have added to the stories; I have tried my best not to subtract from them or change them.  First names were chosen because they sounded like good hobbit-names; last names were almost entirely borrowed from the canon.  Only the name “Grimwig” is not from Tolkien; it is from Charles Dickens, whose British surnames are seldom excelled and thus very often sound “hobbity.”

 

 

This story is not written for monetary profit; however, if you believe I can profit by encouragement and constructive criticism, then please encourage and criticise me as much as you wish.

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

“Do I have to, Mum?”  They stood on the front porch of the Green Dragon Inn, so strange and far from home, waiting for the cart to pull around from the stables.

“Kira, I won’t say it again.  You can’t get sick, so you have to go.”

 

 

“I don’t have to go all the way to Buckland, though.  I could stay with the Brownlocks—or even the Proudfoots out in Westmarch—at least that isn’t on the other side of the Shire!”

“Sweetheart, you know the pest has hit the Brownlocks as hard as it’s hit us—and you’re not staying with the Proudfoots!”

 

 

“But Tom says they’re queer on the other side of the River.”

“Tom says a lot of things.  Bucklanders may be queer, but your aunt had enough sense to marry one of the ones that isn’t, and if you keep your senses about you you’ll do well.  Why, even you’ve got a bit of Buckland blood tucked away yourself, and you haven’t turned out queer, have you?  And you haven’t seen Aunt Penny and her folk in years.”

 

 

“I saw them last night.”

“Not your cousins, Kira.”

 

 

“It still seems like a fat lot of excuses to get me out of the smial.”

“Kira!  That isn’t the case at all, and you know it!  Besides, it won’t be long if the weather holds up and the pest passes through quickly.  I’ll send word through the Post as soon as it’s safe for you to come back, and then everything will be well.”

 

 

“But nobody knows me over there.  Can’t I just go back home with you?”

“Then your aunt and I have both wasted a journey.  You’d best stop complaining, dear; you’re going with your aunt and uncle as soon as the cart’s ready.”

 

 

Too soon—just then the cart pulled up, with Kira’s uncle on the block driving the horse.  In little time (or so it seemed to Kira) they were off, rolling down the East Road, Kira staring out the back and ignoring Aunt Penny’s attempts to talk with her.  Her mother waved her handkerchief from where she stood at the front of the inn, until all that Kira could see against the brown of autumn was a speck of white.

They went around a bend in the road, and all sight of Mother was lost.  It was the first time Kira had been parted from her, and she did not know why.

 

 

It was going to be a long two weeks.





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